When did you last see an advert for Windows Phone? The chances are that you haven’t, not for a few months certainly. When the platform was first launched it was accompanied by the “Really?" TV ad campaign, in which people were shown using their phones as little as possible and dropping them down toilets.
If you understood or owned Windows Phone, this was funny. For the rest of mankind, however, the joke was on us. Why would anyone buy a phone to not use it? Is it so bad that you would throw it into a urinal?
Since then, promotion for Windows Phone has been restricted to the web and occasional magazine features. The platform has largely moved away from advertising on TV and cinema, even following the release of the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update. Instead, individual device manufacturers are being left to promote the brand, with limited success if recent sales figures are to be believed.
Microsoft’s “It’s a great time to be a family” Marketing Campaign
However, our TVs aren’t completely void of Windows Phone, it simply doesn’t appear in its own campaigns. Where it can be found, however, is in Microsoft’s new campaign, "It's a great time to be a family", which features various domestic uses for Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Windows Live and Windows Phone.
These are fun adverts. One features an embarrassing “Dad dance" being captured on a Windows Phone, shared to a PC and quickly edited before being streamed to the TV to the amusement of the gathered family, while another shows an engaged couple announcing their forthcoming union on the web and being messaged so much that they decide to elope.
A third – a personal favorite – features a man using OneNote on his Windows Phone to do the shopping. As he checks items off and heads to the checkout… more items appear, and the advert cuts to him running around the store picking up various items of confectionary until the penny drops, and we cut to a couple of children sitting in front of a Windows 7 PC witnessing the message “Do your homework!"
The magic of these adverts is that they don’t tell the viewer the name of the products, simply that all of these things are possible with Microsoft. (If you were wondering about the third advert, OneNote can be synced to a Windows Live account, which enables the list to be updated across the web.)
What is particularly interesting, though, is how Microsoft is now positioning Windows as a family brand, in sharp contrast to the popular view of Apple Mac users as single, professional twenty- or thirty-somethings. It’s a clever tactic, and if the reception of the adverts is anything to go by it could have a similar impact to those old “I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC" adverts… without the smugness, of course.
Meanwhile, Over in Europe…
As limited as things are in the Windows Phone advertising campaign in the US of A, a different story is currently being told in the UK and Europe, where Nokia’s first Windows Phone devices, the Lumia 800 and 710 are set for release during November.
This is big news in Europe simply because of the huge reputation that Nokia enjoys, despite its poor showing over the past few years. Largely this is due to Nokia being a Finnish company, and although this is rarely used to promote their products, it does make supplying devices to the market a lot easier. In fact the Nokia name is so recognized that it can sell magazines, as in the example shown here.
In the United States there is no final date for release of any of the Nokia Windows Phone devices (several more are expected to be launched in 2012) as yet, which means that American customers won’t get the pleasure of seeing a fantastic, color-and-shape coordinated TV ad featuring the Lumia 800 and the familiar tiles of the Metro user interface found on Windows Phone.
Nokia Cannot Hit America Fast Enough for Windows Phone
With the recent news that Windows Phone’s market share has remained static over the year since its launch until September 2011, it seems that the platform needs a shot in the arm to start eating into the BlackBerry, Android and iPhone share. While Windows Phone Mango will have provided this to existing users, the Nokia Lumia 800 (and to a lesser extent the Lumia 700) is the public face of Mango.
Forget the HTC Titan and Radar 4G and all of the other devices. With or without the front facing camera, the Lumia 800 is bright, colorful and a real head turner. As it is basically a Nokia N9 handset design, the phone itself is lighter than any of the HTC or Samsung Windows Phones.
The Nokia campaign certainly seems to be drawing attention in the UK, with mobile phone stores even advertizing the presence of the phones – the first time Windows Phone window displays have been used since the platform launched in 2010.
Some figures have indicated that Windows Phone is set to enjoy a 12% market share in Europe thanks to Nokia in 2012. That would more than double its share in the USA if the pattern was repeated. The sooner the Nokia Lumia phones come to America, the better!
- Wilcox, Joe. "Microsoft's clever 'family' marketing campaign is exceptional", http://betanews.com/2011/11/03/microsofts-clever-family-marketing-campaign-is-exceptional/
- Magazine cover image photo provided by author.